Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Dan Ristic, Roger Strukhoff

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Microservices Journal, Virtualization

Cloud Expo: Article

Cloud Wars: Why History Will Repeat Itself

The most important thing is to determine what the right use cases are for your organization to adopt cloud

Battles over formats and standards in the technology industry aren't new. Whether it was e-mail, word processing, graphical images or even some more current like the apps on your smart phone, each new innovation typically starts out somewhat proprietary and incompatible.

Today we live in a world where a lot of those battles have been fought and won while some are only starting to heat up. Formats tend to resolve themselves through standards so that things like e-mail and web pages "just work." That or at a minimum the technology we use evolves and hides it all from us via various forms of automatic conversion. In a world where so many technologies seem to get along - why shouldn't clouds? The answer isn't so simple and, as is often the case, history has a way of repeating itself.

Difference Approaches
Just as email initially emerged inside of private datacenters, so has cloud infrastructure. It was initially based on virtualization technology and, depending on what kind of IT shop was involved, you most likely ended up on VMware if you were trying to make your core datacenter more efficient by virtualizing legacy servers; Xen if you had a significant Linux or Java developer presence where the need to rapidly provision test and develop machines was important; and maybe even Citrix if you were using Metaframe for serving up applications to remote users or thin clients. For some companies, cloud adoption started outside the corporate datacenter inside of the VMware vCloud or Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Different Platforms
These approaches initially evolved into distinctly different virtualization technologies. VMware's vSphere platform grew up in the heart of enterprise data centers so it focuses more on performance, manageability, stability and uptime. Amazon's platform is directed at rapid provisioning of instances that are great for developers and dynamic workloads. While they both promote the concept of virtual machines as the building blocks of their clouds, the formats are very different. Amazon breaks its workloads into images called Amazon Machine Images (AMIs), which contain an operating system image from a limited library, memory and CPU resources. VMware uses a format called a Virtual Machine Disk (VMDK) that contains not only the memory, but also a more flexible operating system image that can be based on any x86 and, as you can tell by the name, the disk storage itself. With Amazon's AMI model, any additional storage outside of the operating system image must be kept on a separate disk image on the network using either their S3 or EBS storage solutions. With VMware's VMDK, because the disk is included, you can move everything around. They call this a vApp.

Competitors
It also goes without saying that the war for cloud market share has started and is being waged in earnest. Given the amount of dollars at stake, it makes complete sense. The major players all want their share of the anticipated $241 billion that corporations are predicted to spend in the cloud over the next 9 years (according to Forrester Research). This kind of growth opportunity resembles a land grab of significant size and proportion that fosters only self-serving forms of compatibility.

History Will Repeat Itself
As we now know from the email platform wars, once the bulk of companies picked their initial email standard to implement, the green fields of opportunity started to dry up. As a result, email platform vendors found themselves in a situation where they could only gain market share by taking customers away from each other. This caused them to start offering various forms of migration services. The initial offerings were assistance with your email strategy, which was closely followed by professional services teams that could perform the migration for you. At some point, the professional services teams developed tools to make the migrations easier and those tools ended up being packaged and offered directly to end users.

We are starting to see this trend emerge in the cloud. Most Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers have either a toolkit or a professional service offering that helps customers migrate from one SaaS provider to another. You can see this with Salesforce and Netsuite. VMware and Amazon are no exception. Amazon offers a tool that allows you to convert your VMDK virtual machines into AMI images. VMware has an extensive professional services offering and numerous channel partners that can help an Amazon customer migrate to a vCloud or back to their internal VMware vSphere environment if a customer found themselves locked in to the Amazon cloud.

Interoperability and Open Standards
It's clear that more help is on the way, but there may be some solutions that can help in the short term. The Distributed Management Task Force, also known as the DMTF, is a standards body that represents 160 member companies and organizations and more than 4,000 active participants crossing 43 countries. They have endorsed and are actively promoting the Open Virtualization Format (OVF) standard for Virtual Machines(VMs) and Virtual Applications (vApps). OVF support is the foundation of the VMware vCloud and VMware vSphere 4.1. Workloads can be quickly converted to OVF and then moved or copied between clouds as the needs dictate. This gives the IT department and power users the ultimate flexibility as they begin to adopt a cloud-enabled approach to IT.

Which One Is Best
Choosing the best cloud platform is a lot like deciding to upgrade from a tube television to a flat screen. It can be hard to choose when you see all of the different flat screen television technologies like DLP,LED, Plasma and LCD but once you've made the leap to High Definition, regardless of which technology you chose, it still puts you light years ahead of where you were with your old TV set.

How to Choose
The most important thing is to determine what the right use cases are for your organization to adopt cloud. For some companies that may be to make their existing IT resources more agile and efficient so placing some of the workloads they have already virtualized using VMware into a public vCloud make the most sense. For other companies that may need to perform thousands of calculations on a moment's notice, consuming that capacity from a commodity cloud like Amazon's EC2 might be the best fit. The real key is that this landscape is evolving and changing rapidly. Any workload placed into the cloud should conform to existing IT practices and should be able to be de-provisioned, redirected or moved as the cloud market matures and the understanding of which clouds best fit which workloads becomes clearer.

More Stories By Pat O'Day

Pat O’Day is CTO and co-founder of Bluelock, a certified VMware vCloud Datacenter provider of Virtual Datacenters hosted in the public cloud, and is responsible for commercializing and making the company’s Infrastructure-as-as-Service (IaaS) model a business reality. With almost 20 years of IT infrastructure experience, he holds countless certifications and serves as a technical advisor and conference speaker for industry-leading technology companies including IBM, VMware, F5, Shavlik and LeftHand Networks. He is also the co-founder and former president of the local Association of Internet Professionals and a former board member of the technology peer group for TechPoint, Indiana’s only statewide information technology association.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Soha will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit New York, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Soha delivers enterprise-grade application security, on any device, as agile as the cloud. This turnkey, cloud-based service enables customers to solve secure application access and delivery challenges that traditional or virtualized network solutions cannot solve because they are too expensive, inflexible and operational...
SYS-CON Events announced today that QTS Realty Trust, one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing providers of data center facilities and cloud services and a leader in security and compliance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. QTS Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: QTS) is a leading national provider of data center solutions and fully managed services, and a leader in security and compliance...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IndependenceIT, a leading software provider of simplified IT management solutions for workspaces, applications and desktops-as-a-service, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IndependenceIT's Cloud Workspace® Suite combines application, end-user and infrastructure management into a seamless, easy-to-manage platform, with a unified management interface an...
SYS-CON Events announced today that that Innodisk, the service-driven provider of industrial embedded flash and DRAM storage products and technologies, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Innodisk is a service-driven provider of industrial embedded flash and DRAM storage products and technologies. With satisfied customers across the embedded, aerospace and defense, cloud storage markets an...
SYS-CON Events announced today that WSM International (WSM), the world’s leading cloud and server migration services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. WSM is a solutions integrator with a core focus on cloud and server migration, transformation and DevOps services.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Site24x7, the cloud infrastructure monitoring service, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Site24x7 is a cloud infrastructure monitoring service that helps monitor the uptime and performance of websites, online applications, servers, mobile websites and custom APIs. The monitoring is done from 50+ locations across the world and from various wireless carr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Intelligent Systems Services will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Established in 1994, Intelligent Systems Services Inc. is located near Washington, DC, with representatives and partners nationwide. ISS’s well-established track record is based on the continuous pursuit of excellence in designing, implementing and supporting nationwide clients’ mission-cri...
SYS-CON Events announced today that B2Cloud, a provider of enterprise resource planning software, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. B2cloud develops the software you need. They have the ideal tools to help you work with your clients. B2Cloud’s main solutions include AGIS – ERP, CLOHC, AGIS – Invoice, and IZUM
PubNub on Wednesday released an open source template to allow developers to add Skype-like video chat into their apps. The free template provides a fully functional video chat platform using WebRTC, PubNub and Google Authentication for a global, reliable collaboration solution. “While the WebRTC protocol has created huge excitement as a way to deliver video chat ubiquitously, there’s still a gap between the protocol itself and the ability to deploy a working, globally scaled, collaboration appl...
The IoT Bootcamp is coming to Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo on June 9-10 at the Javits Center in New York. Instructor. Registration is now available at http://iotbootcamp.sys-con.com/ Instructor Janakiram MSV previously taught the famously successful Multi-Cloud Bootcamp at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo in November in Santa Clara. Now he is expanding the focus to Janakiram is the founder and CTO of Get Cloud Ready Consulting, a niche Cloud Migration and Cloud Operations firm that recently got acquir...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tufin, the market-leading provider of Security Policy Orchestration Solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As the market leader of Security Policy Orchestration, Tufin automates and accelerates network configuration changes while maintaining security and compliance. Tufin's award-winning Orchestration Suite™ gives IT organizations the power and a...
The 5th International DevOps Summit, co-located with 17th International Cloud Expo – being held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudian, Inc., is a Foster City, California - based software company specializing in cloud storage software. The main product is Cloudian, an Amazon S3-compliant cloud object storage platform, the bedrock of cloud computing systems, that enables c...
Today, IT is not just a cost center. IT is an enabler and driver of business. With the emergence of the hybrid cloud paradigm, IT now has increasingly more capabilities to create new strategic opportunities for a business. Hybrid cloud allows an organization to utilize multi-tenant public clouds, dedicated private clouds, bare metal hosting, and the associated support and services for the right use cases through an on-demand, XaaS model. This model of IT creates tremendous opportunities for busi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that kintone has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. kintone promotes cloud-based workgroup productivity, transparency and profitability with a seamless collaboration space, build your own business applic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada...
SYS-CON Events announced today Arista Networks will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Arista Networks was founded to deliver software-driven cloud networking solutions for large data center and computing environments. Arista’s award-winning 10/40/100GbE switches redefine scalability, robustness, and price-performance, with over 3,000 customers and more than three million cloud networking ports depl...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 9-11, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place November 3–5, 2015 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cisco, the worldwide leader in IT that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cisco makes amazing things happen by connecting the unconnected. Cisco has shaped the future of the Internet by becoming the worldwide leader in transforming how people connect, communicate and collaborat...